I got stuck in an after school teachers’ meeting at the Ghetto School. I loathe the teachers’ meetings because they are especially boring and painful and really do nothing more than tell the teachers stuff they already knew, or could figure out on their own. In the past, I’ve done some pretty daring, James Bond-esque shit to get out of the teachers meetings. Sometimes, I’ve had the principal come by with a last minute save – “We’re having a teachers meeting from now, so why don’t you go home early?” This day however, I was feeling too lazy to bust out the double-0 smoothness and the final hour reprieve didn’t come, so I got stuck in the meeting.
When I first came to Japan, I had to really listen and concentrate in order to fully understand what was being said. Two years later, I can casually pick up background conversations without really trying. So I wasn’t listening to the meeting, but random little bits were getting through. One in particular caught my attention, as the ninensei teachers were giving their report – “they reportedly started dating, but word has it they broke up last week, so the situation needs no further attention.”
Hold on a minute. Was that just a report on the dating activities of the students? How in the world is this relevant?
I sit across from Ms. Americanized. I looked up and our eyes met. She read my look of confusion, and passed me her stationary. Since we sit across from each other, sometimes in the teachers meetings we’ll pass each other notes. I took the stationary and we started an exchange.
Me: Correct me if I’m wrong, but was that just a report about students dating?
Her: Yep. But they are really bad students, so it might be important to know.
Me: Okay. But still, that’s overdoing it!
Her: Right. What country do you think this is?
Me: Oh right. Sorry, forgot.
Her: It’s okay.
Me: Maybe I’m just jealous. I never got to date in Jr. high School.
Her: Me either. But jr. high relationships don’t last. I spent my time studying, and making good friends, which is more important I think.
Me: Good point.
Her: Isn’t it?
After the meeting ended we were able to talk freely. I asked her which two students were dating. She told me – it was Breasts Girl and the boy who’d shaved fake cornrows lines in his head. Breasts Girl has gotten to be quite bad, she and two other ninensei girls do nothing more than roam the hallways, talk, and be loud and annoying in general. The cornrows kid barely comes to school, but when he does he usually ends up breaking something, or attacking someone. Oh, and he still has the cornrows lines in his head … he had shaved his head bald, but now he’s got some hair back, and has shaved the lines right back in. I still just want to point at this kid’s head and laugh hysterically. Maybe that’s mean, but when you become an MTV Jigger, you lose all sympathy from me.
Breasts Girl is tall and lanky, while the Cornrows Kid is short and stocky.
Her: I can’t picture them together, I just can’t.
Me: I can’t picture any students together. And I don’t wanna.
Her: Oh, of course, that too. But it just … they don’t fit together! How could they?
Me: Well, I don’t think their “relationship” was based off liking each other’s personality.
Her: Of course not! I know that, I wasn’t talking about that. I meant, you know. I’m amazed he didn’t snap her in half.
Me: Oh yuck. There’s an image I definitely didn’t want.
Her: Or worse, get her pregnant.
Me: Yeah, that’d suck. Maybe it’s just me, but there doesn’t really seem to be any education about sexual health in Japan.
Her: There is none and it’s terrible! Japanese people can be really ignorant about safe sex. It’s really scary.
Me: No kidding.
Her: Oh please don’t let her be pregnant. Please Please Please.
Me: Well, you could always teach her kid English in 12 years.
Her: If I’m still an English teacher here 12 years from now, just kill me. I want you to just shoot me, right here in the head. Put an end to my pain.
Me: I’ll do what I can.
In retrospect, it’s a damn good thing they broke up. If they did end up having a kid together, you’d have a pint-sized punk with shaved cornrows in his or her hair, who could randomly teleport in and out of places and yell “breasts!” at foreigners.
I don’t think the world will ever be ready for that kind of thing.